[-empyre-] regarding grief and mourning

Monika Weiss gniewna at monika-weiss.com
Sun Oct 7 06:32:04 EST 2012

Yes Ana, Jaar is an important artist and I have always admired his  "Rwanda Project". Museo de la Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos where my "Sustenazo (Lament II)" is opening later this year began their contemporary art programming in 2010 with his very interesting permanent installation"Geometry of Consciousness".

There was a question earlier in a post, I think from Johannes, which is an important one and has many implications. The problem of the projected and cinematic environments' capability to induce any emotions or intellectual epiphanies worthy of the space of the polis, especially in the case of my work's preoccupation with public ritual of lamentation. Along those lines, I think you Johannes asked to what extend (if at all) installation work with live presence has any impact outside of the internal "feasts" that happen inside the museums and for the museums' trustees (as in case of the gradually more and more devaluated and also openly married to financial establishment practice of Ambramovic). This is possibly a question that should trouble many or all of us, and it definitely troubles me to a great extent. One of the ways that my work has been overcoming this predicament is for example in my series of "open drawing landscapes" -- where passersby would be invited to inhabit the territory of the work for any period of time, often by lying down in its space, and experiencing sound as well as interacting with the landscape by leaving marks of their presence. The process would be filmed by an overhead camera and the contingencies that would result would be later visible in the film,  for example in my "Drawing Lethe" project at the World Financial Center Winter Garden etc. With less interactive pieces or with those made for and inside art institutions, I would often receive a lot of unexpected feedback, at times (actually it happens a lot) the people who either attended a performance or viewed the projections, would proceed to cry. They would tell the guard or the curator that they felt happiness as they were crying.... Or they would talk to me directly about the experience. This is not to say it's a given or a guarantee that someone would be moved to tears and I never set this as my goal... This seems to just happen. As I am using these words, "tears" or "emotions" or "happiness" I realize that they have been forbidden for a while now.... The Duchamp's expulsion of emotion from contemporary art took place for a good reason originally, when it felt as a bourgeois method, as a misleading trope, that has nothing to do with the more desired analytical skepticism . And yet,  today, as Adriana Valdes spoke in Berlin last summer in her talk titled "When Irony Is Not Enough" -- skepticism, irony and their deconstructive skills are not enough indeed.

The relationship is/needs to be dialectical and dialogical -- between the spectacle and the interactivity, the emitted/porous emotion/affect and the analytical agency, the gesture and the response-ability, from merely institutional, towards public and dispersed among many.

Monika Weiss

On Oct 6, 2012, at 12:16 PM, Ana Valdés wrote:

> I am friend to Alfredo Jaar, the Chilean born artist living in New
> York since many years. I love his work, the Rwanda Project. 1994-2000
> He wrote this text in the Imaginary Museum, “These posters, scattered
> around the streets and squares of Malmo, reduced the rhetoric of
> advertising to a cry of grief. But they also served notice on a
> complacent public: ‘You—in your tidy parks, on your bicycles, walking
> your dogs—look at this name, listen to this name, at least hear it,
> now: Rwanda, Rwanda, Rwanda...’ The posters were a raw gesture,
> produced out of frustration and anger. If all of the images of
> slaughter and piled corpses, and all of the reportage did so little,
> perhaps a simple sign, in the form of an insistent cry, would get
> their attention.” - Alfredo Jaar, imaginarymuseum.org
> Regarding Deenas interesting linking together, I think it's of course
> right and fair to try to be a part of a collective catharsis with our
> writings with our images with our tears with our cries.
> Ana
> -- 
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